Monday 30 November 2015
Another month almost in, a better day, not the warmest, at least it was not that bad, enjoyed wearing a jersey outside! Gary today had covered the patch at the top of Loch Indaal from Bowmore back up to the mouth of the River Sorn below Bridgend, a good variety of birds were seen as follows... 15 Long tailed Ducks, 11 Goldeneye, 33 Slav Grebe, 49 Common Scoter, 53 Greater Scaup, 23 GND, 7 RTD, 121 Mallard, 470 Wigeon, 79 Eider, 43 Teal, 19 Mute Swan, 7 Whoopers, 16 Pale belied Brent, 33 Red breasted Merganser, 21 C Gull, 21 BH Gull, 101 Curlew, 150 Oystercatcher, 93 Barwits, 300 Dunlin & Ringed Plover, 7 Sanderling and a Buzzard. Thanks Gary. This afternoon, here at home, a Buzzard was being chased away from the crag by a pair of Ravens, I had not realised that a Buzzard could fly that quickly, if and when the need arose...
Sunday 29 November 2015
Another windy day with some heavy showers in the mix too. There was a gust of 61.5 mph around lunchtime. I emptied the rain gauge out this morning, that is now the second time that I have done it this month with a tally so far of 8.3inches and there is still until 9am on Tuesday morning, before I tally up for the whole month, looks a wet one for sure!!! Gary braved the elements and down on the Strand at Uiskentuie. Gary saw several Ringed Plover, 33 Turnstone, 45 Oystercatcher, 21 R b Merganser, 7 Eider and a Red throated Diver.
Saturday 28 November 2015
Rather a pig of a day, another set of squally showers coming in from nowhere blown in by a blustery wind to move it all along.... Coming back from Gary's talk on Thursday evening, I had a Barn Owl fly over the van as I turned off the main road and up the hill. Yesterday around midday, a male Sparrowhawk was following the road over at Coull before it swerved away on to rest up on a fence post. Late yesterday afternoon, Mandy saw a Barn Owl down at the road leading to Rockside and here at home today the local Sparrowhawk flew through the garden, thankfully not catching anything yet again!
Friday 27 November 2015
Earlier this week, on one of the days when there was a brief lull in the weather, Mary managed to carry her WeBS, so here are Mary's "scores on the doors". On Loch Gruinart itself the tally was 6 Cormorant, 1 Shag, 5 Heron, 117 Shelduck, 161 Wigeon, 7 Mallard, 2 Goldeneye, 30 R B Merganser, 141 Oystercatcher, 29 Ringed Plover, 1010 Golden Plover, 705 Lapwing, 2 Knot, 25 Sanderling, 130 Barwit, 63 Curlew, 30 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 5 Turnstone, 13 B H Gull, 20 C Gull, 29 H Gull, 7 Gbb Gull and 33 Greylags. On the floods, 6 Mute, 8 Whoopers, 9 Greylags, 68 Teal, 38 Mallard, 8 Pintail, 6 Shoveler, 2 R b Merganser, 1 Heron, 171 Lapwing, 1 Curlew, 1 Greenshank and 16 Redshank. Up on Ardnave Loch the tally was 6 Mute, 7 Whoopers, 23 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 8 Mallard, 2 Tufted Duck, 10 Goldeneye and a Heron. Thanks Mary! Wednesday was the last full day of Ken and the Burbagebirders. They headed off down to the Port Ellen area in the hope of seeing the cackling goose, but no joy. Undeterred, Ken and his team headed up to Coal Ila and Bunnahabhain (possibly the Distilleries?).... Yes, they turned up trumps with 3 Golden Eagles and 2 White tailed Sea Eagles seen over Jura with an Otter seen in the Sound of Islay. On the road over to Ardnave, every flock of geese was scanned but still no cackling goose, but Ardnave proved trumps with over 40 Chough seen out on the wing. Ken and the team left yesterday morning, on a flat calm crossing, last bird for the list were some Black Guillemots who missed the bow of the ferry by a mere metre! Hopefully it won't be too long before you return again, always a pleasure to meet up with you when you are over...
Thursday 26 November 2015
Back at the weekend, Alistair Hutchison had seen 2 Greater spotted Woodpecker down towards Loch Ballygrant, and last week, he had seen one perched on a tree in at Loch Skerrols. Today, there were some Redwings flitting along the fence posts over at Ballinaby. There were also several hundred Barnacle Geese who took off as we slowed down to scan through them. The Whitefronts were there with the Barnies, but seem quite settled allowing us to look for any with neck collars on, but none were seen!
Wednesday 25 November 2015
Mary, on her way into work yesterday, saw a female Peregrine down at Uiskentuie. Louise reported through to say that she had seen 2 Golden Eagles, 6 Snow Buntings and 25 Fieldfares whilst on her travels on Islay! Ken yesterday, along with the Burbage birders had a not too bad a day considering the weather. A raft of 52 Scaup and then a raft of 64 Common Scoter were seen off Blackrock. 39 Pale bellied Brent were present at Bowmore. Along the track leading to Laggan, 3 Yellowhammer, 2 ringtail Hen Harriers and a Merlin were seen. A Kestrel, 2 Golden Eagles and a flock of over 120 Linnets were present on the Oa. At the close of play, a juv. White tailed Sea Eagle was out past Ardbeg towards Claggain Bay. At the bird nerds meeting last night, Lesley told me that the Aberdeen team had 99 species in total during their brief stay, a great time, considering the weather... On our way home from the meeting, we had a Snipe at the roadside as came over the hill from Gruinart and just after Sunderland Farm, a Woodcock resting up in the centre of the road, just as well the van has got good breaks... Today, the Sparrowhawk swooped through the garden twice in the hope of catching something, no luck pal!!!
Tuesday 24 November 2015
An early entry being put to press tonight as it is the Bird nerds meeting plus the fact I have some sightings in already...Lesley and the Aberdeen RSPB group on Sunday afternoon had carried on round Loch Gorm having a count of around 300 Redwing, some 10 Fieldfare and the occasional Song Thrush noted along with Blackbirds. Over the fields, they had a flock of 50 Skylarks. They also had excellent viewings of both male and the ringtail Hen Harriers as they drove round Loch Gorm. 4 Gadwall and 2 Goldeneye were on Loch Gorm itself while 2 male Bullfinches were in some trees, as were a number of Chaffinches. At the visitor centre at Loch Gruinart, a Siskin was seen on the feeders, and a Peregrine flew past! From the hide, 20 Pintail and then a Sparrowhawk were seen. 3 Dabchicks were on Ardnave Loch, out on the sea, a B T Diver was present along with 2 RT Diver and a GND. The Choughs turned out in force with 46 being counted! Last bird seen at Ardnave was a Merlin, and as they headed down to Port Ellen to the ferry, a Cackling goose was seen amongst some Barnies about a mile out of Port Ellen on the high road.. Thanks to folks for your sightings. On Sunday, Ken Reeves returned with another group from the Burbagebirders, their 11th visit to Islay! On the ferry coming over, 13 GND were seen, a raft of 55 RTD. Heading over their accomodation, they had 46 Scaup on Loch Indaal and also 3 BTD. Yesterday, a Merlin was seen at Port Charlotte, off Bruichladdich Pier, 9 Purple Sandpipers and a Common Snipe were present. 50 Dunlin along the flats at Gruinart, 2 Chough at Ardnave as were 11 Whoopers. On Loch Indaal, off Bowmore, 2 Long tailed Ducks, 2 Slav Grebes, 7 GND, 2 BTD, 2 RTD and 31 Eider, all in seen in "challenging conditions", according to Ken!!! Yesterday afternoon, Steve Rightson had seen a Swallow at Gartmain.
Monday 23 November 2015
What a difference a day makes, yesterday out in a jersey, today wearing a big jacket between the squally showers and windy as well... Early last week John Stephenson from Bowmore e mailed through (sorry only found it my junk box a few moments ago). Basically John was reporting that the big number of Whoopers were away from Ardnave Loch, but he had seen Chough there. Down in front of the old hide at Gruinart, he had 20 Whoopers the same day including 2 families with 5 youngsters. Yesterday afternoon, Mandy had 2 Greenshank, a Redshank and a Turnstone together at Bun an Uillt on Loch Gruinart. At the close of play around 5pm Mandy had a Tawny Owl on the verge at the side of the road as she passed the entrance to the visitor centre at Gruinart. Yesterday morning, Mike Peacock had 5 GND on the incoming tide at Gruinart. Mike also had 33 Sanderling, a few Ringed Plover, 2 Greenshank, with 4 Whoopers arriving in as well. Inland, Mike had 2 Hen Harrier and a Kestrel. Mid afternoon, from Port Charlotte panning across Loch Indaal to Gartbreck/ Laggan Point, 31 GND, 9 RTD, 53 Common Scoter and then another raft 9 were seen in flat calm conditions. Lesley was out with her old friends from Aberdeen yesterday. Going round Loch Indaal, 64 Pale bellied Brent, 4 Shelduck, 6 Slav Grebe and 6 Barwits. At Bridgend, a Dipper was seen on the River Sorn. In the woods at Bridgend a Goldcrest and Treecreeper were added to their list for their visit. More from Lesley tomorrow night... On our way down to Portnahaven last night, we had a Barn Owl below Carn with a Tawny Owl close to Ellister on our way home. We also saw several groups of Red Deer in the headlights too along with several Hares out on the roads playing silly games...they all lived to see another day.... Rememembr to come along to the monthly meeting of the bird nerds tomorrow night at the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore at 7.30pm, if you are around!!!!
Sunday 22 November 2015
What a glorious day it has been, a beautiful sunrise, and as I write today's entry a sunset over to Ireland, well words are hard to find to describe it, and in between the day was not bad either.... Just great to live out here!! Yesterday the Aberdeen RSPB group had spent their day down on the bottom end round about Port Ellen . On their way out to the Oa, they had seen 2 Red Grouse and a Golden Eagle. They also had a flock of 250 Twite at Kinnabus. Around 500 Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbirds and Song Thrushes were seen on passage. 2 Kestrels were seen as they headed out to the American monument on the Oa. On their return too the car park, they saw a stunning Snow Bunting. A total of 5 GND were seen as they headed out towards Claggain Bay. As Lesley put it, the "group" are well impressed (choughed?) with birding on Islay! Just what we want to hear... This morning, Bob, Gary and myself carried out the WeBS count, a week late but the weather has not been that kind to us ... Our birds were as follows, 2 GND, 1 RTD, 32 Shag, 2 Whoopers, 2 Greylag, 900 Barnies, 8 Whitefronts, 52 Mallard, 210 Teal, 432 Wigeon, a female Pintail, 22 R B Merganser, 2 Goldeneye, 1 Heron, 57 Oystercatcher,31 Curlew, 1 Purple Sandpiper, 20 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 44 Dunlin, 15 Knot, 6 Sanderling, 14 Turnstone, 3 Snipe, 1 Grey Plover, 8 Golden Plover, 40 Ringed Plover, 41 Lapwing, 9 GBB Gull, 296 H Gull, 109 C Gull, 18 BH Gull. Bob also counted 61 Scaup at Blackrock on his way home, and this afternoon Bob and Pat had a Short eared Owl up on Bolsay Moor. Today also, James had 7 Long tailed Tits and 2 Goldcrests in the wood at Gruinart. In front of the hides, he had a Goldeneye and a Tufted Duck, which are not that common in the hides! At his house, there was a Woodcock amongst his chickens and a count of 55 Redwing in the trees close to his house. Here at home this morning, Margaret had a Redpoll out on the bird table.
Saturday 21 November 2015
We had 2 groups of Whoopers fly past on their way South yesterday, one of 8 and then later on a 9. There was a small family of 3 down at Rockside this afternoon. On Thursday afternoon Mark Sullivan arrived over for the weekend along with his group from the Aberdeen members group from Aberdeen and had a great start by spotting a Golden Eagle and also a distant White tailed Sea Eagle and that was even before the ferry tied up!Yesterday, they were not to beaten by the poor weather and by close of play they were up to 66 species seen. Round Loch Indaal, they had good views of Whooper and Mute Swans, at least 50 Pale bellied Brent, the flock of 44 Scaup close inshore at Blackrock, 3 Long tailed Duck, a Goldeneye, several R B Merganser seen in the distance, a GND, 2 Slav Grebes, 2 Little Grebes, a good cross section of waders and gulls with a flock of 200 Ringed Plover along with similar number of Dunlins at the head of Loch Indaal. Highlights seen at Loch Gruinart included 9 Pintail, 7 Shoveler, and 4 Greenshank. Along the flats, they had seen a flock of 350 Golden Plovers and they also saw 2 ringtail Hen Harriers over the moor. Gary today had been at Loch Finlaggan, almost his home patch now! His birds were as follows, 1200 Barnies, 100 Whitefronts, 57 Mallard, 23 Teal, 10 Tufted Duck, a male Goldeneye, 3 Dabchicks, a Buzzard, numerous Redwing & Fieldfare, 12 Blackbirds, 4 Dunnock, 12 Hooded Crow and 2 Ravens.
Friday 20 November 2015
Earlier this week the first International Goose Count took place when the whole of Islay is counted on one day and again the following day with the average count being the figure used. So here are the figures for the 17th and 18th November, there were 48,568 Barnies, 4,564 Whitefronts and also 929 Greylags. Thanks to Morven and the team from SNH for the figures. Yesterday Malcolm and Bob headed over to Jura. They had a Peregrine at Feolin, a Sparrowhawk was seen later on with many Buzzards seen on their travels, but not so many geese as on Islay, only 60 Greylags and 3 Whitefronts noted. Mid afternoon today, on their way back from Port Ellen, Gary and Sam saw a rather bedraggled looking Barn Owl, mind you I would have looked a rather sorry sight too as the weather has not been that great with dirty showers of sleet and also some "kid on" snow also.... Before I forget, on Tuesday night, the Islay Bird nerds are holding their monthly meeting at 7.30pm in the Lochside Hotel in Bowmore, so if you are around, you will be made welcome!
Thursday 19 November 2015
The Whitefronted geese that we had seen yesterday over at Ballinaby were some of the geese caught and rung back in December 2012 by Larry and Carl. They are over again on Islay at present and managed to catch, ring and fit neck collars on a further 29 Whitefronts... Equally important was a catch up with Ed earlier this evening, good to see you Ed! Yesterday while carrying out the International Goose count, Mandy and Fiona had seen a Snow Bunting up at Ardnave. Here at home yesterday, a Merlin sped through the garden and kept going, no birds nobbled! Gary last night saw a Barn Owl down towards The Woollen Mill. Today, he had a Lesser Redpoll feeding on a seed head on the road leading to Finlaggan, later on, he too had a Merlin fly though his garden as he was knocking down his garden wall... This morning, I counted a total of 33 Goldfinches in the garden, between those on the feeders and the ones over on the willows, resting up.
Wednesday 18 November 2015
Not exactly a day for bird watching today with the wind increasing as the day went on, with at present the highest wind speed being a gust late afternoon coming through at 64 mph, little wonder the birds were having difficulty in flying!!! We saw 6 Whitefronts round at Ballinaby earlier today with neck collars on, so I have sent the details through to Ed and I think that these were originally caught and fitted with collars by Larry from WWT about 3 years ago. Larry is one of Ed's bosses! Once I hear back from Ed, I will let you know their history.
Tuesday 17 November 2015
The wind may have dropped this morning, but already this evening the wind has started to pick up again, the lull before the storm?? This morning here at home, we had a count of 22 Redwings in the garden along with 2 Stonechats, both new to the house bird list... Later on, 2 small group of Whoopers arrived off the sea, a 10 and also 4. Later on 35 were noted heading out to sea and away South. There was a flock of 80 Rock Doves on the barley stubbles along at Sunderland Farm. Bob today had seen 57 Whoopers resting up at Easter Ellister. Martin, while taking his lunch at Killarrow House on the edge of Loch Indaal in Bowmore had managed some birding. Very productive it was too with 2 GND, a Slavonian Grebe, 40 Eider, 12 Red br Merganser, 2 Shag, 3 Mallard with a Twite seen on the grass! Martin had also seen a Peregrine as came down from Bridgend to Bowmore prior to this.
Monday 16 November 2015
Some sightings from David and Pat from Friday, they had seen a Kestrel at Scarrabus, a Pink footed Goose was in a turnip field where there had been some whitefronts earlier on the same day and they had a couple of Redpolls at Coullabus and finally 6 Black Guillemots were present off Bunnahabhain on the Sound of Islay. Thanks for your birds folks, and also to Armin for his too! Dave had 103 Whoopers at Kinnabus on Saturday afternoon, but these were not seen on Sunday morning, but a further 84 were counted on Loch Kinnabus on Sunday afternoon. Dave also had over 200 Redwings on Saturday as well. George Jackson had seen 50 Whoopers fly down Loch Indaal on Saturday. Yesterday, Bob had a Glaucous Gull at Uiskentuie. Today, Bob and Garry had seen 5 Pink footed Geese at Rockside this afternoon. This morning, 41 Whoopers flew out past our house early on, then a 14, 10 and finally 9... surely they should mostly be through by now, all the same great to see them battling against the strong winds....We should have done the WeBS count yesterday, but the weather was not kind to us, and today was not much better, another day..
Sunday 15 November 2015
Catch up time with the rainfall over the past 24 hours, certainly not as much as other areas, but all the same we had 1.5 inches with the total for the month coming to a nice round 4.0 inches so far...not really heavy rain, just a steady fall of rain over 24 hours!!! On the Whooper Swan front, they are still on the move... More movements from yesterday included Mike seeing 37 fly past Port Charlotte, a 12 and then a 3, all around midday. Gary yesterday had 46 fly in from Jura and on inland, so possibly the Swans seen on Loch Skerrols by David and Pat Wileman. James today had 43 on the reserve at Gruinart and they took off flying South towards Loch Indaal. James reckons that his swans fly on over Loch Indaal and not to be confused with the swans seen here and around the Loch Gorm area. This morning, there were 2 groups flying away from here this morning, one of 13 and then 32 followed soon afterwards. Down on Rockside, early afternoon there were 3 groups of Swans on the different barley stubbles, 75, 27 and a smaller group of only 10. The lochans down there are as large as we can recall, and another "new" lochan where there was not there before!
Saturday 14 November 2015
Dave and Pat Wileman, visiting birders from Norfolk have been over for the past few days and in between the showers yesterday, from their "mobile hide", (their car), they saw the following between Bowmore round to Port Charlotte, 8 Whooper Swan, 60 Pale bellied Brent Geese, 20 Wigeon, 40 Red Br Merganser, a female Goldeneye, 3 Long tailed Duck(2 m + 1f), 50 Eider, 3 GND, 3 RTD, 5 Slav Grebes, 1 Razorbill, 40 Barwits, 1 Knot, 4 Cormorant and 15 Shag. Elsewhere during their stay they saw lots of Redwings and Fieldfares all over, 1 Buzzard at Redhouses and a further 2 close to Storakaig, a Golden Eagle out over the hills at Storakaig with a Dipper seen on the River Laggan above Cluanach. Thanks folks, hope the weather did not put you off! Yesterday afternoon, Martin saw some Waxwings as he came out of Bowmore, but he was in traffic and could not get a right count let alone turn back...This morning, the wind has dropped and the Whoopers have made the most of the lull. Here at home alone we had seen a total 365 Whoopers fly out past us, out to sea and then head South. James had counted 258 on the reserve at Gruinart, so possibly we had seen some of James' Swans. Bob had 56 fly over his house and a further 37 resting up in the fields at Port Charlotte with Dave Protherough seeing 40 fly out over Kilnaughton bay at Port Ellen, so one way or another I reckon that at least 500 or thereabouts were seen. Bob this afternoon had a Kestrel over at Blackrock and seen some Redpolls at Martin's house at Glenegedale this morning.
Friday 13 November 2015
Yes, Storm Abigail did pass through with the windy weather still causing disruption, not just on the travel side, but the electricity was off mid afternoon for around and an hour or so, but power has been restored, well done to the teams from the Hydro board.... Not much to report tonight, but Mike had a 1st winter Iceland Gull fly down Loch Indaal around 14.30 and also seen was a Black throated Diver fairly close to the shore. Here at home, the birds have been busy eating away at the feeders, mind you apart from being rather windy, the temperature has dropped a few degrees as well...
Thursday 12 November 2015
Rather blustery out here on Islay today, with gusts up to 60mph recorded and the power is still on, so you will get an entry from me tonight! Yesterday, Armin had seen a Buzzard sitting on the top of one of the chimney pots on the cottage round at Saligo. Further on up at Ardnave, on the loch there were only around 20 Swans seen, so it backs up the sightings yesterday of Swans flying out in groups. Bob had seen another 2 groups mid afternoon flying down Loch Indaal. Lesley Silcock, a returning birder to Islay and now resident down at Port Ellen had seen 2 groups of Whoopers fly out over Kilnaughton Bay yesterday morning. Also yesterday, over the dunes Armin had 15 Chough flying, and this afternoon, he had an Otter swimming in the sea at Carraig Fhada lighthouse at Port Ellen. Mike Peacock had a Leach's Storm Petrel battling against the storm as it flew down Loch Indaal, less than 10 metres from his living room window around 9am this morning. Mid morning Lesley had seen a possible Dotterel at the head of Loch Indaal.
Wednesday 11 November 2015
This morning, early on, there were several groups of Whoopers flying out from the Loch Gorm area, following the road and out to the sea and then heading South, no doubt on to Ireland. There were 14, 10, 32 and then 30 in a short space of time, then around 70 - 80 Fieldfares flew South over the house mid morning. At lunchtime, another 24 Whoopers flew past. Needless to say, the wind has picked up quite a bit, so I have taken most of the bird feeders down, rather than find them on the ground tomorrow morning!
Tuesday 10 November 2015
Gary today, had some "good" birds in his garden over past Ballygrant. They included a male and a female Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting as well as good numbers of Chaffinches, Greenfinches and Coal Tits. Today, we moved one of the feeders in closer to the house, with an immediate response was the Goldfinches, Chaffinches, and House Sparrows arriving soon there... Late afternoon, with the weather improved, a quick run round Loch Gorm, did not produce much, a Stonechat on the whin bushes after Coull, around 30 Fieldfare at Saligo, no geese really seen apart from 20 or so Whitefronts and 6 Barnies at Ballinaby with 13 Whoopers at Sunderland and 8 more along at Rockside.
Monday 9 November 2015
Think I could start off with the opening lines that I used last night again, but that the wind was slightly stronger. Armin is back over the week, and apart from attending the Islay Sessions over the weekend, he has managed some birds for us too. He had a Buzzard on top of a fence post round at Ballinaby on Saturday. Yesterday on his way to over to Saligo to watch the boiling sea and the waves there, Armin had seen around 30 Whitefronts crabbing their way in the wind, and then later on 7 Chough over the dunes behind Machir Bay, with the Choughs hugging the dunes... also yesterday Gary and Sam had done a waderwatch on Loch Gruinart from Bun an Uillt, with their birds seen included Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew, 4 Greenshank, 1000 Golden Plover, Pale belied Brent, Barnies, Mallard, Wigeon, Pintail, R b Merganser, Cormorant, Buzzard, juv Peregrine and 7 Herons.
Sunday 8 November 2015
Yes, the weather forecast was (yet again!)spot on as early morning, the rain came and the wind picked up, so needless to say the ferries are on amber alert and could be disrupted or cancelled, as ever we are lucky with 2 ferry ports on Islay...and the weather does not look much better for the rest of the week!!! Yesterday Gary and Bob had carried out a survey out over Loch Indaal from the Gaelic Centre (NR324604) just out of Bowmore. They too had seen the antics of the White tailed Eagle trying to possibly drown the Eider. They had seen the end of the tussle with the Eagle flying away with no prey! Birds seen were Oystercatcher, Redshank, Barwits, Turnstone, Curlew, 400 Golden Plover, 10 Grey Plover, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, juv. WTSE, GND, RTD, R b Merganser, Cormorant, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Eider, 1 Shelduck, 4 L t Duck, Greylags, Barnies, P b Brent, Whooper and Mute Swans, C Gull, B h Gull, H Gull, G b b Gull, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Dunnock, Redwing, and Reed Bunting.
Saturday 7 November 2015
Yesterday was Mike Bell's last full day, but this did not deter him... He had seen Red legged Partridges at both the Market and than later on up close to Neriby as well as at Carabus, probably birds recently released. Before setting out in the morning Mike had a ringtail Hen Harrier at Kilchoman with 60 Fieldfare and 60 Redwing as he drove down towards the Coastguards' Houses. The Whoopers were still on Ardnave, the tally being 208, 13 Mute, 397 Wigeon, female Gadwall, 2 Goldeneye, 2 Tufted Duck, a male Pochard, 3 Mallard and 3 Teal. On the floods at Gruinart, 340 Teal, 3 Gadwall, a good count of 87 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, and a Greenshank, 12 Pale bellied Brent were out on Loch Gruinart itself. In the afternoon, the tally for Golden Plovers was 1600 at Gruinart with a Mistle Thrush seen at Loch Gruinart House. Further on, 60 Redwing were seen at Ballimartin, 2 Golden Eagles at Storakaig, 55 Fieldfare at Cruach, 17 Red legged Partridges at Carrabus, 100 Redwing at Lyrabus with a further 60 at Craigens. A male Hen Harrier was seen below Carnduncan while a ringtail was at Sanaigmore as was a Merlin. Paul and Avril Watchorn's "best birds" of their visit were seeing our Choughs, Hooded Crows, Stonechats the numerous Whooper Swans as well as Reed Buntings down on the Oa, not forgetting the Golden Eagle on Jura and the geese all around. Many thanks yet again to our visiting birders for sharing their sightings. Leslie Silcock who has moved to Port Ellen recently had seen Choughs down on the Oa this morning and 2 RTD in Kilnaughton Bay. This morning there was a ringtail Hen Harrier out over the crag, quite close in, but better to come as we went down to Bowmore later on. As we approached Gartmain, the birds on Loch Indaal all appeared to be very agitated, and rightly so as there over the water less than 70 yards from the road was an immature White tailed Sea Eagle trying to get an Eider. Each time it swooped in, the Eider had the sense to dive and escaped. We watched this going on for at least 5 minutes, thanks to Karen for flagging us down as I was driving and watching the traffic on the road.....
Friday 6 November 2015
On Wednesday, Bob saw a White tailed Eagle when he was in at Loch Skerrols. Coming home on Wednesday evening, we saw 2 different Barn Owls between Port Ellen and Bowmore. Yesterday, on the Oa, Dave had 13 Whoopers and 300 Greenland Whitefronts. Yesterday, Mike had walked in towards Coal Ila from Port Askaig and saw 4 Goldcrest, 6 Long tailed Tits and a Mistle Thrush. Back at Mulreish, there were 200 Fieldfare and 500 Redwings present. At Ballygrant, a further 40 Redwing and along at Kepolls, 120 Fieldfare and 20 Redwing, and also 3 female Sparrowhawks chasing after each other... A Golden Eagle was seen over the hills and also pair of White tailed Sea Eagles. At Eorrabus, 200 Redwings were noted. At The Woollen Mill, a Dipper was present on the River Sorn and also seen were 5 Long tailed Tits, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Siskin and a Mistle Thrush. 2 Whoopers were on the stubble fields at Cattadale with 69 Ravens seen down at Cluanach. Round Loch Gorm, Mike saw 2 Greylags with neck collars on at Coulererach amongst the Barnies and Whitefronts, both the geese were rung here on Islay and have not been seen off Islay! Finally Mike had walked out to the pond behind the dunes behind Machir Bay where he had 56 Whoopers (including 5 broods), 308 Teal, a female Pintail, a male Gadwall with 70 Twite, 17 Chough and 55 Golden Plover seen on his way back from the pond. This morning, a male Hen Harrier skimmed over the garden here at home, and then late afternoon a large number of Whoopers flew in from the sea, and we located them in 2 groups, one of 64 on the water on Loch Gorm, the other party was of 25 along at Sunderland along with some Whitefronts and also the 3 Pinkfoots.
Thursday 5 November 2015
Really had to think what day of the week it was, knew the date but which day it was, another sign that I must be getting a bit old... say no more!!! At the weekend, Jack Fleming had a count of 40 Pale bellied Brent Geese at Bun an Uillt on Loch Gruinart. The other day when over on Jura, Paul and Avril Watchorn, the winners of the Gie's a brek (Give us a break) draw at the Birdfair back in August, had seen a juv Golden Eagle.. Visitors Alan and Viv Coy had seen a couple of Short eared Owls up past Killanallan on Tuesday. Mike Bell yesterday had counted 29 Whoopers, 820 Greylags, 3 Pinkfoots,19 Barnies, 214 Teal, 15 Mallard and 2 drake Pintails on the pool in the dunes behind Machir Bay. On the dunes, Mike had 12 Fieldfare, 60 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush and 3 Golden Plover. Along towards Rockside, 50 Fieldfare, 100 Redwing, 30 Chaffinch, a Brambling and a Yelowhammer were seen. Loch Gorm had a Great crested Grebe, a Dabchik, 5 Pochard, 7 Goldeneye and 11 Tufted Duck. Up on Ardnave Loch, Mike counted a Dabchick, 20 Mute, 218 Whoopers, a drake Pochard, 2 Goldeneye, 3 Tufted Duck, 1 RB Merganser, 5 Shoveler, 18 Teal, 372 Teal with a late Whimbrel also present. An Otter was seen at Traig Nostaig while out at Ardnave Point, 44 Chough and 25 Curlew were seen. In the afternoon, Laggan Point held a RTD, 8GND, 3 Eider, 39 Shag, 1 Gannet, a Black Guillemot, a ringtail Hen Harrier, 2 Chough, 2 Rock Pipit. The "Laundry Loch" held a Dabchick, 19 Mallard, 4 Wigeon, and 3 Tufted Duck, probably there could have been more if the farmer had not been past a few moments earlier on his quad bike and spoofed some away...
Wednesday 4 November 2015
An early entry tonight as I am going out this evening.... On the reserve at Gruinart today, James had the following count, 13855 Barnies, 601 Whitefronts, 46 Pale bellied Brent and 85 Greylags, other birds noted were 3 Gadwall and 372 Lapwing. Mike Peacock, now resident at Port Charlotte sent in some sightings from today... On Loch Indaal from Port Charlotte across the Loch to Gartbreck in flat conditions, 53 GND, including a group 37 fishing together and also 9 RTD. Along at Blackrock, Mike had a further 5 GND, 48 Scaup, a female Long tailed Duck, 32 Eider, 3 Goldeneye, 22 Common Scoter, 5 RB Merganser and 2 Pale bellied Brent. Thanks Mike.
Tuesday 3 November 2015
This morning, Peter had seen a juv White tailed Sea Eagle over the North end of Loch Gorm. Today, Mike heard a Brambling in the wood down at Kilchoman. On the pool, in the dunes behind Machir Bay, he counted 570 Greylags and 90 Teal while on the beach on Machir Bay itself were 53 Curlew and 800 Barnies. 40 Whoopers flew off one of the lochans at Rockside. The 3 Pinktooted Geese were still there amongst the Whitefronts there. A Hen Harrier was at Killinallan with 3 Goldeneye out towards the mouth of Loch Gruinart. Along the beach there were 93 Ringed Plover, 85 Sanderling, 71 Barwits, 16 Turnstone and 27 Curlew. Inland he had seen 4 flocks of Twite, totalling 145 in all. Mike had 2 Greenshank out on the floods at Gruinart and also a female Bullfinch seen while walking along the "Woodland trail", along at Erasaid, 200 Fieldfares and 20 Redwing were present. On Loch Indaal between Bruichladdich and round to Bowmore, Mike saw 3 RTD, 19 GND, 9 Slavonian Grebe, 51 Pale bellied Brents, 436 Wigeon, 48 Scaup, 24 Common Scoter, 132 Eider, 58 RB Merganser and 11 Long tailed Ducks including 8 drakes. There was a count of 1200 Golden Plover on the merse at Bridgend. George Jackson (visitor) was up here at home this afternoon and rung 11 House Sparrows, a Dunnock and also a Goldfinch, boy were the wee birds wary of the mist net and took great delight to avoid being caught!
Monday 2 November 2015
The weather has not been too bad out here today, not as good as yesterday and we had no disruption like other places with flights due to fog... Yesterday, Carl had 2 Wheatear, a RTD a White Wagtail and 2 Turnstone down on Uiskentuie strand, later on he had Merlin up towards Gearach. Mike from Dunkeld had been out and about today, he had seen 6 Whitefronts between Rockside and Ballinaby with neck collars on. One of the geese that Danny saw last week was rung at Ballinaby back in Dec 2012, and I think some of the geese seen by Mike today were caught and fitted with collars the same day as Danny's goose. This morning Mike, Mike seen 3 Pinkfoots amongst the geese at Rockside/ Coull. Over at Gruinart there was a ringtail and a male Hen Harrier causing havoc with the Teal there!! Loch Skerrols held 50 Whoopers, 9 Mute, 80 Wigeon, pr of Gadwall, 9 Teal, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 Goldeneye, 2 Dabchick and a Moorhen, in the fields surrounding 27 Fieldfare and 75 Redwing. Down on the Oa, Mike had seen 120 Redwing and a Yellowhammer at Lower Cragabus, at Upper Cragabus 150 Fieldfare were present. Further flocks of 30 and 75 Fieldfares along with 2 flocks of 50 Redwing were also noted on the Oa, 2 Golden Eagles seen, a Grey Wagtail, 14 Twite and another 45 Redwing at Lower Killeyan. Back at Kilnaughton Bay, Port Ellen, 3 RTD and a GND were present with a further 80 Redwings on the move. A Hen Harrier was seen at Loch Tallant and another at Ballinaby. 16 Pied Wagtail were seen going to their roost down beside Loch Gorm. Late afternoon, here at home, a small flock of around 60 Fieldfare flew overhead.
Sunday 1 November 2015
What a great day out here today, hard to believe that it is November, even noticed someone cutting their grass. The rain gauge read 3.3 inches when I emptied it out for the month of October, another dryish sort of a month... Yesterday George Jackson (visitor) had seen the Todd's Canada Goose down at Rockside, and then went out round the loop round the Rhinns from Port Charlotte. First up was a male Merlin just out of Port Charlotte, a female Merlin further on towards Lossit, with a tally of 200 Redwings and also 200 Redwings seen as they crossed the fields down to Lossit Bay itself. They also saw a ringtail Hen Harrier there too. Many more Redwings and Fieldfares were seen as they continued their trip back round to Port Charlotte. This morning, Bob heard a commotion out over the forestry behind Octomore, on checking it out there were 5 Sparrowhawks being mobbed by Jackdaws and other birds, similar to what we had the other week here at home! On our way over to meet in with James at Gruinart this morning, we had a male Hen Harrier, a Sparrowhawk and a Kestrel all flying above the reserve. Later on, we saw "our" George Jackson up at Ardnave Loch, what a spectacle, 230 Swans and at least 330 Wigeon. Mike from Dunblane is back for the week, and had been up to Ardnave and had counted the Swans as well, and reckons there were 210 Whoopers and 17 Mutes, there were 17 juv amongst the Whoopers. Mike also counted 420 Wigeon, 2 Goldeneye, 7 Shoveler, and saw a ringtail Hen Harrier. Out at Traigh Nostaig, he saw 25 Turnstone, 2 Turnstone and 16 Rock Pipits. On the other side of Ardnave Point, Mike had 59 Ringed Plover and 6 Twite. Between Bridgend and Bowmore, he had 54 Pale bellied Brents, a small Canada Goose amongst the Barnies, 449 Wigeon, 4 Pintail, 68 Eider, 7 Long tailed Duck (including 5 drakes), 34 R B Merganser, 3 GND, 1 RTD and a Slav Grebe. Down from Bowmore, 940 Golden Plover, 2 Grey Plover, 83 Ringed Plover, 6 Knot, 91 Dunlin, 113 Barwits and 16 Turnstone seen. Back at the floods at Gruinart, 75 Pintail, 700 Teal, 3 PBB Geese, a flock of 1350 Golden Plovers, a ringtail and also a male Hen Harrier were added to his birds. Finally, Mike had 2 Pinkfooted Geese amongst the Greylags and Whitefronts at Coull. His tally for Whoopers there in the morning was 58 including 15 juveniles. Mike reckons that the Golden Plovers were different flocks, so giving a total of around 2300.